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Marina Tots

San Francisco, CA 94123

(415) 931-7778

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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Teacher-Led

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense
Time & space
Sci. reasoning/physical world
Visual arts
Physical activity
Other subjects taught

From the Director:

We believe that young children learn and develop in multiple ways, so we provide materials that will support their various learning styles. The mutiple intelligence approach acknowledges linguistic, logical/mathematical, kinesthetic, spatial/visual, and musical learning. Our teachers are trained in the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum approach to Literacy, Math, Writing.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Marina Tots goal is to provide your child with an atmosphere that is stimulating and nurturing; allowing him or her to learn in an environment that encourages his/her natural ability to develop a positive self-image. The way children learn, think and behave, throughout their lives are shaped by early experiences. We are committed to encouraging individual growth and development through our warm, and loving environment.

Marina Tots is a three to four year program, which is designed to build upon and increase educational capacity as each child prepares for kindergarten. All of our programs provide a stimulating environment, which fosters a social, emotional, creative, cognitive and physical growth of your child.

Our program consists of three separate levels, each geared to the age or developmental level of the child. A variety of programs and activities are designed to provide students with a balance between teacher- directed and self-directed activities. In each program, children are encouraged to be themselves and also have respect for their peers and teachers.

A Typical Day

Marina Tots Prep curriculum is built on daily learning activities with a focus on encouraging creativity, logical thinking and social skills. Our goal is to inspire children to reach their highest potential and overall developmental needs. Our program is developmentally appropriate, and varies with the different age groups of our children.

Welcome and Table Time: Everyday will start with Free Choice Exploration, children are provided time to have self-directed play, where they they are encouraged to learn by choosing to engage in imaginary play, building with various materials, sensory focused activities, independent creative art. Other materials include blocks, various art materials, puzzles, games, playdough, sand and water bins, etc. This is the time that we let the children know what is planned for the day.

Project of the Day: Some projects will be open-ended, allowing the children to explore and create without limits. While other projects will be goal-oriented, with an intended result or product. All of the projects and work that your child takes home will have a focus in creative art, science, gardening, math, sequencing and patterns, literacy and writing development.

We use the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum to develop and build skills in early literacy, writing, and pre-math skills through hands-on activities and work with manipulatives. Please check out to explore for yourself some of the things we will be introducing to your children.

Everyday is Earth Day: We focus daily on greening our school. Your children help grow our school garden, they will plant seeds and sprouts to grow vegetables for every season in the Vegetable Garden and they will also have their very own Flower Garden. Through garden exploration, the children will learn about life-cycles, where their food comes from, healthy and nutritious foods, and how to help keep the Earth clean. We also include a unit on Composting and Recycling, to learn about the importance of both, and they will practice what they learn in the classroom everyday.

Letter of the Week: Each week one letter of the alphabet is highlighted in all our activities. All children are encouraged to bring in show-and-tell of items, which begin with the letter of the week.

Group Time/Cirlcle Time: We begin with the Good Morning Song. Colors, letters, numbers, days of the week, months of the year, seasons of the year are discussed and introduced through group activities. This is the time when we ask each child their name, spelling of their name and how old they are. We also sing, dance and play musical instruments. This is an opportunity to develop small and large motor skills and to practice listening skills. Children build confidence, sharing with a group.

Snack Time: This takes place mid-morning. We provide a nutritious snack and water for your child. Children gather together at tables to enjoy their snack. This provides a social conversation amongst the children. Children use this time to share their stories.

Story Time: This is a quiet, calm period for reading books and stimulating imagination which increases listening and encourages appreciation for books.

Indoor Play: This is a supervised free time period. We have activities such as table and floor toys, games, and, puppet shows, etc.

Outdoor Play: Outdoor play includes, a sand box, water table, slide, balls, cars, balance beam. During this outdoor play, we encourage the development of large muscle coordination, balance and social play. We often are able to take the children on a mini field trip to feed the ducks at the Palace of Fine Arts or to play games in Chrissy Field.

Clean Up: This goes on throughout the morning. When a child finishes using materials he/she is encouraged to reorganize and/or put away.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We have daily face-to-face communication with parents at drop-off and pick-up. Our low teacher to child ratio allows us to discuss concerns and child activity from the day. We also conduct parent-teacher conferences twice a year. And parents are encouraged to call or email the Director and teachers with any questions or concerns that arise.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation